#WIB – With Dimpho Mashile Co-founder & MD of KGOPELO

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1. Can you please tell us more about your business?

Kganyo Cosmeceuticals started as a content platform called Kganyo. We created beauty content that was educational and informative, and also a bit directive or instructive by way of makeup tips.

My sister’s social media channels were able to garner a small following of people who were interested in what we were sharing. They would often come back and say, ‘hey, this content is very valuable, but what are the alternatives?’ We then identified an opportunity to go into product creation, which is what we currently do; and now we are a skincare and wellness company.

2. When, how, and why did you start your business?

The business was started first as a content platform in 2017 (unofficially), but by 2018/2019 we were established.

My sister who is our co-founder and muse, had her own struggles with acne prone, sensitive skin which often had eczema flare ups. And unfortunately it was really difficult to find products that could deal with the acne but at the same time, not be too harsh so as to cause inflammation.

It was a very personal story that influenced the kind of products we ended up creating – a combination of her personal skin care journey as well as the community asking for product alternatives.

3. What is your role in the business?

I’m currently the co-founder, and the managing director of the business.

4. Where did you study and what did you study?

I have a background in data science and data analytics. I come from a general STEM background, so science, technology, engineering and math. I have a few certifications in data analytics, data engineering, or artificial intelligence engineering.

5. How did you finance your business?

The business was self-funded – this process involved a lot of saving up money, using it for product research and development; and then stopping because the funds would run out. We’ve also started doing grant applications, but most of it was and still is self-funded.

6. Describe your average workday.

An average workday (with my small dream team) involves a lot of focusing on marketing and sales, figuring out our social media, finding events that we can pop up at, cold contacting a lot of potential distributors/retailers, and preparing pitch decks for various stakeholders.

During production runs, it also involves heading to our shared factory space to prepare our products, so filling, packaging, and preparing for shipment.

And sometimes over weekends, we also shoot content.

7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?

I don’t believe in balance. I haven’t seen it yet. If one thing is going really great, something else is not and I guess that’s just part of the sacrifice of entrepreneurship. I do try and just make sure that I’m eating enough, I want to say sleeping enough too, but that’s a lie.

So there’s no real balance. You kind of choose – some days you’re going to sleep the whole day because you need to catch up on sleep, even though there’s no such thing as catching up on sleep; and other days, you’re just grinding, and that’s that.

8. What drives you and inspires you?

My late sister never got to see the final product, and so a lot of the things that we often spoke about and dreamt together, she never got to realise. And that’s a big driving force for me right now; to kind of tick off everything on our business bucket list and execute what’s on the vision board that we had.

I’m also inspired by the opportunity to contribute to the African beauty narrative; to enrich the tapestry of beauty. I think there’s a lot more room for what can be done in terms of product development and what can be said by way of the stories being told.

9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

I want to say I’m never not having really great ideas. Not all of them are great, but the really good ones come to me as and when they need to. Sometimes I get really good ideas when I’m driving. And then also when I am surprisingly in water, so a bath, a shower or swimming.

10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?

A lot of it is on social media. But we are moving a lot more towards word of mouth and trying to find different avenues because social media is quite cluttered and we’re all fighting for a bit of airtime. So sometimes we can come across as inauthentic, especially with all these promoted and sponsored posts. We are trying to move a lot more into coming back to real life or offline, word of mouth.

11. What is next for your business?

We’re developing a few more products so that’s exciting. But I think just a lot more storytelling. As and when budget allows for us, that’s a big part of our story and brand.

We did start as a content platform and so we’re really passionate about narrative, we’re passionate about story. And so once we can afford to, we’re differently going to go back into that space.

12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?

Please just start. Even if it’s embarrassing, even if you’re giving people stuff with no labels, no stickers, no nothing.

Start, because at least when you start, you set a starting point for yourself and you’ll know how far you can take it.

I think it’s very easy to look at things and be like, ‘oh, I can do that.’ But then you realize, no, you actually can’t or you can’t do it as well as you think you can. It’s equally an exercise in humility and striving for getting better.

So start and surround yourself with a really good community. Surround yourself with people who are aligned with your vision, who are aligned with what it is that you’re doing, what it is that you’re saying. Surround yourself with really talented, self starters who love what they do as well. I think that just makes things a bit easier.

To get in touch, please reach out at press@kgopelo.africa; 071 150 2195 | Social Media: @kgopelo.africa on Instagram and Tik Tok or visit the website at www.kgopelo.africa